Overview – Saadani NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. It is the only park in East Africa with an Indian Ocean beachfront. It’s the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or animals coming to drink at the nearby waterhole. Also, a sight to behold are the Swahili fishermen casting their nets at sunrise.

Best Time to Go January and February and June to August
High Season June to October (The park rarely gets crowded)
Size 1,100km² / 425mi²
Altitude -28-343m / -92-1,217ft

Pros & Cons

  • A combination of beach and bush
  • A perfect beach destination for people who prefer a bush environment to a typical beach holiday-resort
  • Closest wildlife viewing destination to Zanzibar and connected by daily flights
  • Guided walks and boat trips available
  • Most of the major safari animals aren't present or aren't easily seen
  • The wildlife-viewing circuit is small
  • Lack of wilderness appeal with human settlements all around

Saadani NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Wildlife isn't abundant, and the park is more a beach destination within the bush. Commonly seen on game drives are elephant, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, yellow baboon and vervet monkey. Lion and other predators are present but rarely seen. Hippo, crocodile and a selection of waterbirds can be encountered on boat trips. Saadani's wildlife specials are the shy red duiker, the endangered Roosevelt's sable and green turtles, for which the park is a breeding site.

Scenery

Mangroves separate the idyllic palm-lined beaches, and the watercourses are fringed by woodland. The habitat inside the park is mostly grassland interspersed with acacia thickets. Part of the extensive Zaraninge coastal forest, a bio-diversity hotspot in Tanzania, is also located within the park boundaries.

Weather & Climate

Saadani’s tropical climate is governed by a warm Dry season (June to September) and a hot, sticky Wet season (October to May). The drier months are distinguished by little, except sunny days. Things get a bit more varied when the rains begin. The landscape is teased by some showers before the precipitation diminishes for a few months. Then it starts to rain in earnest, though rarely for days at a time.

Best Time to Visit

The interlude between Saadani’s two extended periods of rain (January and February), as well as the opening months of the Dry season (June and August), are the best times to come here. This is when animals use the water pooled on the plains to hydrate. When the rains begin in earnest, the wildlife tend to vacate the park. Except for the migrating birdlife, that is, which sweeps in along with the afternoon showers.

Want to Visit Saadani NP?

Saadani NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Wonderful Beach & Some Wildlife, Too
2/5

Tiny Saadani's real highlight is not its wildlife, but the coastline - long, wide, driftwood-strewn in parts and mostly deserted. I don’t recommend the park as a destination in itself. Rather, plan a stop here if you're travelling by road...

Latest User Review
3/5

Saadani park is not very populated: it is hard to spot lions and zebras for example. It is interesting because it is located on the coast: there are bushes, a river and the Ocean as well. Due to our lack of experience and to the lack of...